Standing Up to the Bully; Sherbatov Looks to Take Woolley’s XFFC Title


Yoni SherbatovThe one thing about life is that a person never knows where the path is going to take them unless they create the path ourselves. For Yoni Sherbatov, moving to Canada at the age of four with his family, one would have to think the path he chose would not have lead him to becoming a rising star in Canadian MMA. However, determination and hard work has gotten him here. All that hard work now gives him a chance to fight for a title as he will face Flyweight champion Adrian Woolley at XFFC 8 in Grande Prairie, Alberta on Friday night. For Sherbatov, Friday cannot come soon enough.

“I cannot wait for this fight, I heard it is a great organization,” says Sherbatov.  “I am happy for that opportunity to show what I am able to do. Woolley is a great fighter and it will be a great exchange with two fighters that are ready to give a show.”

Unless you have been living under a rock the last couple of years, it has been hard to not hear Sherbatov’s name if you follow combat sports in this country. His credentials include: 7 x Tae Kwon Do champion in his home province of Quebec, Canadian champion in Greco Roman Wrestling, North American Abu Dhabi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion and medaling at the World Jiu Jitsu championship in Brazil. In 2014, Yoni made the transition into MMA and was coming into the sport with a lot of excitement. Since stepping into the cage, he has started out with a 4-0 record including a 78 second TKO over Freddy Arteaga in Boise, Idaho last month (Watch it HERE). When asked about the hype that is surrounding him, he seemed a bit puzzled.

“I really didn’t know that there was hype around me,” says Sherbatov.  “I was just tired of doing amateur competitions. I did many in different sports like Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Boxing so I didn’t know there was hype. I just do my job. I don’t know how to it explain it any better. I just love to compete and if I don’t compete, what else is there for me to do. It just keeps me straight in line and keeps my head focused.”



While he is trying to remain focused, he has to be careful that Adrian Woolley does not knock his head off. Woolley has been around the cage for eight years and has been a top Bantamweight and Flyweight contender. While Woolley has not fought in over a year after winning the Flyweight title against Eric Wilson at XFFC 5, he was also Bantamweight champion for W-1. Woolley also has an extremely close split decision loss to UFC fighter Chris Kelades.

Yoni Sherbatov (photo: Alicia Hamilton | Red Statyk)

Yoni Sherbatov (photo: Alicia Hamilton | Red Statyk)

While Sherbatov knows that Woolley will be his toughest test to date, he has to prepare on getting himself ready first before he can focus on the Bully.

“For me, with my team, we have prepared for everything and I am ready for anything,” says Sherbatov.  “He is good at what he does, both standup and grappling. I have seen a few of his fights and I will be prepared for any question that he will ask me and I will answer him with what I know. I don’t look at the numbers when it comes to fights. I have no idea of a person because he has this many fights. Like my first fights, there may have not been many number of fights but they looked good on paper and they were ready to fight me.”

While fighting may be Sherbatov’s passion, anyone who has had the chance to meet or talk to him knows that his true love is his family. After his parents moved his family from Moscow to Israel when he was young, they decided to make the move to Canada and settle in Laval, Quebec in order to give their children a brighter future.

Besides competing, Yoni and his brother Boris started up Sherbatov MMA gym in Laval. The gym has been so successful that they have had to move a couple of times to accommodate space for its growing number of fighters training there on a regular basis.  Sherbatov does make the trip to Greg Jackson’s camp a couple times a year, but make no doubt, brother Boris and the Sherbatov gym have molded him into the well-rounded fighter that he has become.

While he may have lived in Canada his whole life and can speak both national languages, Yoni still carries the family values instilled by his parents. Even when he his introduced during fights, the PA announcer will introduce him coming from Moscow. When I asked why it was so important for him, his answer was pretty simple.

“The fact that Russian blood circulates through us. We are proud that we are Russian and we are proud of who we are,” says Sherbatov.  “For myself, I don’t forget my base. My parents are from there and it is hard to put that on the side. I believe it is important to remind ourselves of whom we are and where we came from.”

While he may be looking forward to his fight on Friday, Sherbatov is always trying to challenge himself.  Barring any injury against Woolley, he will be set to making his boxing debut on January 21st in La Belle Province at Casino Montreal. While no opponent has been named for his bout as of yet, he feels that he can trust the words of his coaches.  He said he hopes to excel in the sweet science like he has at other sports. For now, he just has to make sure he can win this weekend against Woolley and come out unscathed.

2 Responses to “ Standing Up to the Bully; Sherbatov Looks to Take Woolley’s XFFC Title ”

  1. Alister says:

    I truly believe this kid has all the right tools and attitude to be the Best in World!!

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  2. I am really looking forward to this fight.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

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